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CISLAC Urges Immediate Government Action to Address Disturbing Findings in NEITI Audit Report

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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) is urgently calling for immediate government action in response to the troubling revelations brought to light by the NEITI 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Audit Report.

In a press statement signed by Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director of CISLAC, the organization stated that the report has uncovered critical issues within Nigeria’s oil and gas sector that demand prompt attention to ensure transparency, accountability, and optimal national development.

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Rafsanjani, who heads Transparency International Nigeria Chapter, emphasized that the report highlighted a decline in Nigeria’s ranking and score in the Transparency International (TI) 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, underscoring recurring concerns regarding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s oversight of the nation’s shared assets.

“The audit findings reveal alarming losses in crude oil due to theft, sabotage, and measurement errors, along with significant expenditures on PMS subsidies and quasi-fiscal items. Moreover, the report sheds light on unremitted or under-remitted federation revenues, misapplication of the 13% derivation principle, issues related to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), sector governance, and concerns regarding crude oil and gas barter arrangements.

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“CISLAC is calling for immediate action, utilizing the legal and regulatory framework provided by the PIA to mobilize civil society for advocacy, public debates, and vigilant monitoring of sector reforms. The organization advocates for the simplification and widespread dissemination of the report’s key findings to enhance public awareness and drive demand for transparency and accountability.

“Furthermore, the non-profit legislative advocacy is urging the strengthening of the capacity of extractive-focused civic actors concerning essential strategies and sector-specific issues within the PIA, encompassing beneficial ownership, contract transparency, audit remediation, and metering. The organization emphasizes the critical importance of tracking and following up on remediations and host community development.

“In alignment with the PIA, CISLAC advocates for improved data management processes within government agencies reporting and conducting transactions in the sector. The organization also calls for a thorough investigation and audit into subsidy payments, Project Eagle loans, and other loan arrangements in exchange for the nation’s crude oil and gas.

“CISLAC, the Nigerian chapter of Transparency International (TI), is urging the National Assembly to provide effective oversight of the implementation of the extractive sector legal framework and take serious action on NEITI audit report recommendations,” the statement added.

The statement further urges the Nigerian government to investigate and hold public officials accountable for accepting nearly $80 million in bribes from Glencore, a multinational mining and commodity trading company.

Despite Glencore facing repercussions for bribery, public officials on the receiving end have not faced any consequences. Likewise, CISLAC points to the over US$1 billion paid in bribes by Eni and Royal Dutch Shell for the rights to the OPL 245 offshore oilfield to members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. This questionable deal could cost Nigeria as much as US$5 billion due to poorly negotiated fiscal terms, in addition to the US$1.1 billion already lost due to corrupt payments, as outlined by Italian prosecutors.

CISLAC remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering positive change and upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and good governance within Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

Lastly, CISLAC commends the NEITI Secretariat for its ongoing efforts in expanding transparency and accountability within the extractive sector.

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